Brinkmanship Over Iran
As a young man, the intellectual life of Vali Nasr was hewn from Iran's Islamic Revolution. His father, an academic, saw little future under the country's newly minted theocracy and took the family to Boston, joining many other middle-class Persians who migrated to the United States.
"I was impacted by that revolution immensely," recalls Nasr. "The events of 1979 in Iran, the revolution, the explosion of Islamic politics in the Middle East at the time, the questions that Americans had about what happened in Iran, what was happening in the Middle East, why Islam had all of a sudden become so important, were very formative."
More than 30 years on, the issue of Iran is still a burning one for both Nasr and his adopted homeland. The drums of war are being beaten by some in both the United States and Israel, who advocate attacking Iran to prevent it from building a nuclear bomb. President Barack Obama is urging caution, but in this election year his opponents are using the issue to attack his leadership.
Not long ago Vali Nasr was one of the Obama administration's key foreign policy advisors. An expert on the Middle East and Central Asia, between 2009 and 2011 Nasr served as senior advisor to the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.
Now, as the Professor of International Politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Nasr is a leading voice for pursuing diplomatic options with Iran rather than going down the path of war. Here he speaks with The Global Mail's Michael Maher.
Read the full interview (more)